Persuasion or Manipulation

“Persuasion or Manipulation?” by Scott Berinato starts off by talking about Tamar and how she made a graph based on information given to her, but the graph made did not represent the information in the same manner another persons. Here he begins to speak of the grey areas found between persuasion and manipulation. He talks about the persuasion techniques; emphasis, isolation and adding or removing reference points; and how these points can quickly turn into deception techniques. These include exaggeration, omission, and equivocation. Following this he speaks of three charts that fall into this grey area.

The first chart is the truncated y-axis. Here certain values ranges from the y-axis are removed. This chart may be effective in showing change, but can exaggerate and misinterpret the change being shown. The next is the double y-axis. This chart indicates two  vertical scales of two different data sets. It makes the person reading the chart make a comparison, but the relationship between these cause mean very little. Lastly, there is the map,which shows geographical information. It allows for quick finding of data, but the size of the regions don’t accurately reflect the data.

At the end of the reading, Berinato gives us one piece of advice to not fall into the grey area. He lists a set of questions to ask ourselves to see if the information presented is persuasive or manipulative.

What was most interesting about the reading was that it gave us at the end a way to find out whether the information that we are presenting is converting was we are trying to say or if it falls under manipulation. The questions help us avoid crossing the line from persuasion to manipulation.


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